As if you needed an excuse to leave holiday shopping until the absolutely, positively very last minute, here’s your new strategy: As you’re jetting out of town, shop at the airport for special bottles of liquor.
Most likely, you already know that duty-free stores at international airports offer a modest 10% to 20% discount on bottles, because they’re priced without the tax (aka the “duty” in duty free).
But you may not realize that spirits producers – even some hyper-local craft distilleries – release special bottles that are only available at the airport, a category known as Global Travel Retail (GTR).
Among these, local craft spirits may be your best bet for scooping up a truly unique bottle that can’t be procured anywhere else. For example, it was a rude awakening for me to spot Allen Katz, founder of New York Distilling Company, posing on social media with bottles of his cask-strength Ragtime Rye and Perry’s Tot Rose-infused overproof gin …. at Terminal 4 at JFK’s duty-free shop.
There’s not much made by the Brooklyn distillery that I haven’t tried. For sure I’ve quaffed my share of Dorothy Parker gin martinis, many sitting at the distillery’s Shanty bar.
But I’d never seen these bottles anywhere else in New York – and I wasn’t going to, Katz explained: these were strictly Travel Retail exclusives. “[It] creates a link to our home base here in New York,” he told me. But the offerings aren’t meant for the home team.